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Also known as viscoelastic foam, memory foam contours in response to heat and pressure. The material provides a supportive, pressure-relieving cradle that makes it ideal for use in pillows.
Memory foam pillows can be solid or shredded, and many of the best pillows today feature cooling techniques to battle the heat retention that was typical of traditional memory foam. Pillows made of this moldable and highly versatile material are widely available in all budgets.
Whether you suffer from neck pain or whether you’re simply looking for a pillow that will support your spine and help you get a better night’s sleep, look no further. We’ve rounded up some of our top picks and compiled a comprehensive guide on how to choose the best memory foam pillow.
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Tempur-Pedic was the first company to use memory foam in its mattresses and continues to be one of the biggest names in the industry. The TEMPUR-Cloud Dual Breeze one-piece memory foam pillow boasts the supreme pressure relief that is the company’s hallmark. However, this pillow takes it up a notch with gel layers on either side of the pillow to keep it cool. A removable and washable 100% cotton knit cover provides a soft and breathable surface.
The pillow has a 6.4-inch loft, which sinks down a little as the memory foam slowly compresses under the head. Due to this high loft and medium feel, the Tempur-Cloud succeeds in providing a comfortable surface for side sleepers. The foam contours to fit the head and neck, maintaining the natural curvature of the spine while reducing pressure on the ears.
The Dual Breeze pillow is available in queen and king sizes. Tempurpedic offers free shipping but does not accept returns. Tempur-Pedic has established a reputation for high-quality memory foam sleep products and the Dual Breeze pillow should perform well for longer than the average memory foam pillow. To top it off, the company backs this pillow with a 5-year warranty.
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The Layla Memory Foam Pillow is an ideal choice for sleepers whose loft preferences vary from night to night. The pillow’s shredded memory foam fill is housed in a liner inside the cover. To change the loft and overall feel of the pillow, simply unzip the liner and add or remove the foam. Owners can contact Layla about buying more foam in bulk if they need to replenish their supply.
The memory foam conforms closely for targeted pain and pressure relief around the neck and shoulders. The pillow is also well-suited to hot sleepers. Air circulates more freely through the pillow core thanks to the shredded fill, and the foam absorbs less body heat compared to solid memory foam. Additionally, the pillow is easy to clean. The outer cover and inner liner with foam can be washed and dried in your household machines. Flattening may occur with use, so tumble drying the pillow can expand it back to its full shape. Queen and king sizes are available.
Layla offers free shipping to all customers in the contiguous U.S. The pillow is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a five-year warranty, both of which are longer than average.
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The Saatva Memory Foam Pillow is another great option for sleepers whose loft preferences change from night to night. It features a removable inner pillow made of graphite-infused memory foam, along with a shredded memory foam core. Simply remove the inner pillow to adjust the thickness and feel of the pillow.
The cover is composed of breathable organic cotton quilted with phase-change material, which helps the pillow maintain a cool temperature. As a result, this pillow is suitable for anyone who normally finds memory foam too hot. Air also circulates freely through the shredded core, and this foam is infused with gel to draw heat away from your body. The dual memory foam layers also ensure even conforming and relief for any aches and pains in your neck or shoulders.
The cover can be machine washed and dried, but spot cleaning is recommended for the inner memory foam pillow. Saatva offers free ground shipping to all customers in the contiguous U.S. The pillow can be returned within 45 days of delivery, even if it has been used or laundered. It is also backed by a one-year warranty against material defects.
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The Amerisleep Comfort Classic Pillow is designed with balance in mind. The core contains a single piece of Bio-Pur memory foam with a medium feel, so sleepers should expect noticeable contouring around the head and neck without too much sinkage. A 6-inch profile also ensures ample loft without excessively elevating the head. These elements combine to create a comfortable experience for people across a range of personal preferences and sleep positions.
The pillow’s high-loft design is particularly well suited to side sleepers, since this position needs more volume to keep the neck aligned with the spine. The same is true for back sleepers who enjoy the feel of thicker pillows, as well as those who snore heavily. Due to its above-average density, the Bio-Pur shouldn’t lose shape as quickly as the low-density foams used in other similarly constructed pillows.
Bio-Pur’s open-cell composition also prevents excessive heat retention – a common issue with memory foam. The cover is also ventilated to promote steady airflow. As a result, the Comfort Classic Pillow is a good option for anyone who normally finds memory foam products uncomfortably warm.
The pillow is competitively priced and ground delivery is free of charge anywhere in the contiguous U.S. Amerisleep does not accept returns for the pillow, but each order is backed by a 5-year warranty against abnormal wear and tear and other structural defects.
Best for Side Sleepers
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The GhostBed GhostPillow is available in three models, each with different fill material — memory foam, faux down, and shredded. The shredded pillow stands out as the only model with adjustable loft, making it suitable for a wide array of sleep preferences.
This GhostPillow model is filled with a shredded blend of memory foam, visco foam, and microfiber. Softer than solid memory foam and firmer than faux down, this pillow’s fill offers a nice balance of contouring and support. The zippered inner cover allows sleepers to add or remove fill as needed to achieve their ideal loft. Since the loft is adjustable, this pillow is suitable for stomach, back, and side sleepers.
The pillow’s outer cover is made with a proprietary phase-change material that is meant to draw heat away from the body. The memory foam fill has an aerated design to further enhance the pillow’s cooling properties. The fill is CertiPUR-US certified to ensure it is free of harmful chemicals.
GhostBed offers free shipping within the contiguous United States. Pillows come with a 5-year warranty and 101-night sleep trial. After the initial 30 days of the sleep trial, customers may return the pillow for a full refund, minus return shipping fees.
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Most pillows are designed with a certain sleep position in mind based on their feel and thickness. The Muse Pillow is a notable exception because it is available in three different loft measurements. The low-profile 5-inch pillow is well suited to stomach sleepers, who often prefer thinner pillows, while the 6- and 7-inch models provide enough support and loft for side and back sleepers.
All versions of the Muse Pillow feature a top layer of shredded memory foam over a dense, solid memory foam base. The shredded fill contours gently and alleviates pressure throughout the head and neck, while the solid foam layer provides stability and support as well as added conforming. The cover is composed of phase-change material, which is engineered to dissipate heat away from the pillow and help the surface remain cool. The cover, which can be removed and machine washed, makes the Muse Pillow more comfortable for hot sleepers than many competing memory foam models.
Although cost depends on which loft you select, the Muse Pillow’s sticker price is very approachable considering its high-quality materials and construction. Muse Sleep offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. The pillow is backed by a 60-night sleep trial and a three-year warranty.
Best for Back Sleepers
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The Coop Home Goods Original Pillow allows shoppers to adjust the loft for customizable support. Filled with a blend of cross-cut memory foam and microfiber fill, the pillow has a 6-inch loft when new. Coop Home Goods includes a half-pound of extra fill to increase the loft and firmness if desired. Sleepers can add or remove fill to their liking.
Back sleepers are likely to experience the highest level of comfort and pressure relief, due to the pillow’s medium firm feel, which cradles the head and supports the neck. This construction also performs well for side sleepers who weigh more than 130 pounds. A softer pillow can cause sinkage and strain the neck.
A zippable polyester liner holds the fill in place, while a polyester and bamboo-derived viscose rayon cover protects the whole pillow. Like the liner, the cover is zippable and machine washable. The fill is designed to be washed inside the liner. Simply remove the outer cover and secure the liner’s zipper with a safety pin to prevent the fill from spilling out. For the best results, wash cold on a delicate cycle and tumble dry on low. The outer cover shares the same care instructions but is intended to be washed more frequently.
The pillow is available in two sizes, queen and king. Coop Home Goods ships free to the contiguous U.S. The Original Coop Pillow comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a five-year limited warranty.
Best for Neck Pain
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The Orthopedic Memory Foam Pillow from Sleepsia is another great option for sleepers with aches and pains around their neck or shoulders. The pillow’s ergonomic shape creates a supportive surface for the head that promotes spinal alignment for side sleepers while maintaining comfortable mid-level loft for back sleepers.
Since the interior contains a single piece of memory foam, you can expect even contouring and slow responsiveness from this pillow. The cover is composed of silky-soft polyester fabric that is optimal for people with sensitive skin. You can remove and machine wash the cover whenever it needs to be refreshed, but you’ll only need to spot clean the foam as needed.
Standard and queen sizes are available, though both share the same affordable price-point. Orders in all 50 states qualify for free ground delivery, as well. Your purchase includes a full customer satisfaction guarantee.
Memory foam is popular in pillows because it molds to the head and neck, providing a supportive surface that can be shaped to the user’s liking. This close-conforming material is unrivaled in its ability to alleviate pressure points.
In this section, we’ll delve deeper into the pros and cons of memory foam and cover some of the most important aspects to look for when purchasing a memory foam pillow.
The market is flooded with manufacturers who tinker with their memory foam to give it different qualities, such as using gel infusions to achieve better temperature neutrality. Some proprietary foams do succeed in their aims, but it can be very difficult to tell before trying the pillow out for yourself.
Before you shop for a memory foam pillow, it’s important to understand the basics behind how they are constructed and what kind of options exist. Focusing on the following factors can help you see past the marketing hype to choose the best memory foam pillow for you.
Memory foam pillows come in two types: one-piece and shredded.
Here are some other factors to consider when buying your pillow:
Memory foam has unsurpassed contouring abilities that make it one of the best pillow materials for pressure relief and support. However, memory foam has some drawbacks as well, the most notable of which is its tendency to trap heat. The material also has a slow response to pressure that some people like, but that can be restrictive when changing positions.
Here are some of the major ways in which one-piece and shredded memory foam pillows differ:
Memory foam pillows are generally best suited to side sleepers, back sleepers, and anyone who suffers from neck pain or who prefers a pillow with a higher loft. While your perfect pillow will partly depend on your body type and personal preference, here are some general considerations for choosing a memory foam pillow according to sleep position and other factors.
Who is not suited:
Memory foam pillows typically come in the following sizes, although the exact dimensions may vary by manufacturer:
Decent memory foam pillows usually start around $50 and can go up to $150 or more. Prices vary depending on size, foam density and quality, cooling features, and other features such as special shapes or high-quality covers. Compared with other types of pillows, memory foam pillows are similar to latex pillows, cheaper than buckwheat or down pillows, and more expensive than polyester or down alternative pillows.
Some shredded memory foam pillows can be machine-washed, but most one-piece pillows are spot-clean only. It’s important to note that memory foam can get moldy if not allowed to dry properly, so go easy on the spot-cleaning and try not to get the pillow too wet. Many memory foam pillows have removable covers that can be machine-washed.
Memory foam pillows are commonly available online as well as in many brick-and-mortar stores.
The average lifespan of a memory foam pillow is 2-3 years, which is longer than down alternative pillows but not as long as down, latex, or buckwheat pillows.
Even the best memory foam pillows eventually lose their integrity. One-piece pillows start to develop permanent indentations, and shredded memory foam pillows become lumpy. While higher-density memory foam tends to be more durable than lower-density memory foam, the downside is that higher-density memory foam also traps more heat.
Regular cleaning and fluffing can help prolong the longevity of a shredded memory foam pillow. Since one-piece pillows are prone to developing mildew when wet, the best you can do is keep them as clean as possible and wash the pillowcase regularly.
Most shredded memory foam pillows offer users the opportunity to adjust the loft by adding or removing filler, and some one-piece pillows have removable inserts. Shredded memory foam pillows can also be scrunched into different shapes if the shape of the cover allows. Many pillows come with gussets meant to help keep the contents in place.
Yes, memory foam is a synthetic material that will release some off-gassing odors. These are the result of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) being released into the air. While they are considered harmless, people who are sensitive to smell may find off-gassing odors bothersome, especially with the material so close to their face. If this sounds like you, try to look for a pillow that’s certified by a third-party organization for low emissions, and let the pillow air out in a well-ventilated space for a few days or even a few weeks before using it.
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